Friday, March 8, 2013

10 Favorite Sports Movies

10 - Hoop Dreams - A story of 2 inner city boys who become men through basketball and all the hardships of life.  William & Arthur endure the highs and lows of high school stardom and drama.  Almost every kid can relate to dreaming of making the Pro's.  And almost every adult can relate to that dream not coming true...
9 - Varsity Blues - This is the film that gave birth to all the other high school sports movies, tv shows and reality series' post 1998.  Highly underrated movie only because of some teenage hijinx, but that is what makes it authentic.  Friday Night Lights got their blueprint from this film.  Good Old American Southern Football with jock-parents, girls, booz and high-on-their-horse coaches.  And a half-time speech that's been repeated probably over a million times since (Tebow @ Florida).
8 - Eight Men Out - The 1919 Chicago White Sox became known as "The Black Sox."  The film focuses on the character of each player as the story unfolds.  You choose the ones you like and
dislike, but in the end everyone loses, except the Owners and Bookmakers.  If you don't like baseball, it may not be your cup of tea.  But if you like it when a movie holds the mirror up to your face, which is the main purpose of film, then this one is for you.
7 - When we were Kings - Documentary of "The Rumble in the Jungle," fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman.  All the real footage, interviews, sparring, pre-fight hype and touring
around Zaire, Africa.  Ali, no longer the young punk but the elder statesman, is at his mental zenith.  He uses his guile to befriend the entire continent of Africa and hoodwinks young Foreman.  A true look inside the psyche of both Fighters and a host of other real-life characters pulling the strings.
6 - The Hurricane - A true story so powerful Bob Dylan wrote a song about it.  Not necessarily a film about sports or anything in a sporting context, but the backdrop is a champion boxer in a whole lot of trouble.  Ruben "Hurricane" Carter is middleweight champion of the world, but in 1960s America he is subject to great injustice.  One young fan takes a leap of faith, changing everything.  Great Film.
5 - The Sandlot - Baseball is my first love so this film cracks my top 5.  Every neighborhood has a kid that can run faster, jump higher and throw further than anyone else.  The Sandlot is no different.  And if you grew up in a town where you and a bunch of other kids roamed the streets and fields like you owned the place, then you'll appreciate this one.  It'll make you feel like it's Summer Time & you're twelve-years-old all over again. 
4 - Field of Dreams -  For every Father who played catch with his son in the back yard.  A little romance and fantasy for the heart to grow fonder.  This is the quintessential Baseball Film, for if you love the game, it will love you back in ways you can only imagine.
3 - Rocky - For story, for film, for setting and dialogue Rocky is the best sports movie.  Running up the Philadelphia Metropolitan Museum steps should be on every sports-fan's bucket list (and posting it to YouTube for the younger generation:).  We all enter this world as underdogs no matter what our circumstances.  It's the people we grow up around and the choices we make that determine who we become.  But then again, in America serendipitous things occur everyday to ordinary people.  Great Soundtrack too.
2 - Rounders - A film that will change your life if you ever sat at a table with a deck of cards and a stack of cash on the line.  Play the hand you've been dealt, but don't forget the people sitting across from you.  One of the most underrated films.  Damon & Norton are young & reckless, while Turturro & Landau are the experienced wisemen.  Turn a couple hundred into a couple thousand, a couple thousand into a hundred-thousand, then into a million & World Series of Poker Bracelets.  Like Poker or not, this movie is just plain cool.
1 - The Fan - Baseball.  I may be biased, but love makes it so.  My sinister side is the same as I throw.  I hit with a style that sprays to all fields.  Lined at the pitcher's head until he yields.  This film begins with a poem similar in nature.  A man scorned by life recites the words.  His retreat from a world of injustice and regret is the game that's pure.  "baseball is better than life; because it's fair!"  De Niro is the fan whom we appreciate, but only from a distance.  His passion is contagious, his rage frightening.  My Dad once said with a chuckle, "You're sick for liking this movie."  He understands me:)

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